Alternatives to detention


Country Report: Alternatives to detention Last updated: 16/04/21



The Law on Protection sets out the following alternatives to detention for asylum seekers:

  1. An obligation to report;
  2. Bail options;
  3. The obligation to stay in a designated place.

SG can use more than one alternative in the case of any foreigner.[1] Alternatives can be applied by the SG which apprehended the asylum seeker concerned or by the court (subsequent to a SG’s decision not to apply alternatives and who have submitted a motion for detention to the court).[2] An asylum seeker can be detained only if the alternatives to detention cannot be applied.[3] In practice asylum seekers are placed in detention, and alternatives to detention are not considered, properly justified and explained.[4] In 2020, 524 foreigners were subject to alternatives to detention.

Over the period 2016- 2020 alternatives to detention were used as follows for foreigners, including asylum seekers and returnees:[5]

Alternatives to detention in Poland: 2016-2020
Type of alternative 2016 2017 2018 2019 2020
Reporting obligations 1,208 2,094 1,327 1,603 507
Residence in a designated place 1,333 1,818 1,058 1,522 476
Bail 3 4 1 3 1
Surrendering travel documents 54 49 29 36 39
Total 2,598 3,965 2,415 3,164 1,023

Source: Border Guard, 14 January 2018; Border Guard, 14 and 25 January 2019, 17 January 2020, 5 February 2021.

[1]  Article 88(3) of the Law on Protection.

[2]  Articles 88(2) and 88b(2)-(3) Law on Protection.

[3] Article 88a(1) Law on Protection.

[4]  Information provided by Legal Intervention Association Rule of Law Institute and Nomada Foundation, Februray 2021,

[5]  In practice, a person may be subject to more than one alternative measure.

Table of contents

  • Statistics
  • Overview of the legal framework
  • Overview of the main changes since the previous report update
  • Asylum Procedure
  • Reception Conditions
  • Detention of Asylum Seekers
  • Content of International Protection
  • ANNEX I – Transposition of the CEAS in national legislation